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Project Nemo Relocates; Mayor Reacts
01/27/10 - 09:35 PM
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Jessi Chapin - bio
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click for larger image Bay County, Fla:

A big business expected to bring more than 100 jobs will not be coming to Panama City.  Leaders found out Tuesday afternoon that Coast Water Efficient Technology LLC, (Coast WET) a toilet supply company, turned down an agreement to build near Hwy 77 and Hwy 231.

“I was disappointed,” said Panama City Mayor Scott Clemons, “When we converted to the commission taking over we allowed things to get delayed, it was a complex transaction it took too long and so it was a financial burden to Mr. Easter and Coast WET.”

Panama City, the Community Redevelopment Agency, and Economic Development Alliance have spent months of effort and prepared more than $1 million in incentives to recruit the company.  But, a lengthy due diligence in a lease contract was the last straw for company president Robert Easter, who says the long process was costing him money.

“We had a very tight time-table to begin with we were very clear on that,” he said, “It looked like it would be no problem had the CRA been able to facilitate the transaction.”

In an interview with News13 and a letter to Clemons, Easter cites the city’s taking over the Community Redevelopment Area, and internal processes as the major factors in costing valuable time.  With an immediate need to expand, Easter says he could not wait any longer.  The letter also made reference to negative articles published in the local newspaper.  To read the full letter, click here.

With a temporary office already in place in a Panama City Beach industrial park, Easter says he’s ready to triple his 20 employees in the next 6 months and expand on that current site.

“The space is available.  That’s ninety percent of the problem right there,” he said.

Clemons says because they already have a contract and tax package developed for the land, they will try to seek another business.

“I think we probably made some mistakes and we need to be accountable for that,” he said, “but I want people to know that we’ve learned from those mistakes, we’ve put this transaction together and we will know in the future and be prepared when we have an industry that’s ready to come here.”

“We’re going to learn from it,” said Easter, “and Panama City I think has got a huge bright future.”

So far, Panama City Beach has not offered tax incentives or additional funding to the company.

User Comments

Brian7 BINGO ,I belive you have the answer they want rick Dye’s homless camp on 77 & 231.The homeless camp is a Bad idea,very bad idea.

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  01/29  at  07:51 PM

Brian7, no apologies needed.  The JOBS, hello Panama City, the JOBS that this would have created might possibly have helped some of these people IF they kept them local and not hired from out of town.  Did any of those that helped kill this project even think of this idea???? Not on your life.  Personal agendas have no room for logical thinking. I just hope the News Herald and their cronies at City Hall are happy with the damage they’ve done.  Hopefully, their jobs are the next to go when the money keeps drying up in Panama City because of IDIOTS like them.

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  01/29  at  12:54 PM

My objection is only partly in the location.  My main objection is simply providing a place for the homeless to sleep does NOTHING to address the problem.  The whole goal should be to allow these folks to find jobs and become integrated into society.  Just a spot on the grass does not accomplish that.

My apologies for taking this on a tangent, But it is an issue I feel strongly about.

Posted by Brian7  on  01/29  at  12:48 PM

Brian7, what better advertising to tourists and travelers coming into Panama City than to see a homeless recue mission right on the main thoroughfare? It would be great advertising as to the type of town Panama City will eventually become of they don’t do something to get their act together and stop running businesses out of town? I have a better place to put it. Shut down the News Herald and use their buildings for a shelter. Far better use of the property than what it is being used for now. And it would end one more version of the National Enquirer which is all the News Herald is anymore.

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  01/29  at  12:35 PM

Exactly Oldman, why would anyone build a luxury subdivision right down the road from an airport?  I live in the current flight path now and can tell you when every flight is on time.  Right now of course there are few flights but what about when the overnight European non-stops are landing at 3 am?

Posted by Brian7  on  01/29  at  12:28 PM

This land at Hwy 231 and Hwy 77 was also being considered for Rick Dye’s homeless camp.  An idea that I am completely against.  I wonder if that is still on the table? So instead of creating jobs we have a place for the jobless to sleep?

Posted by Brian7  on  01/29  at  12:26 PM

yerpointis, they get no pity from me and don’t deserve any. They knew what those beaches were when they moved out there. They have no gripe coming and did it to themselves. Just like the idiots that will soon be complaining about the noise from the new airport once the subdivisions are built at the base of the runways. Some people are just born stupid and keep having relapses!

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  01/29  at  10:09 AM

Good news for the Beach! Thanks Panama City,,,you’ve continued to make it easier to stay on the west side of the bridge! Hope the company isn’t loud….These damn Condo owners are ruthless!!

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  01/29  at  09:19 AM

Did it also occur to anyone that ever since Scott Clemons became mayor, Panama City seems to have been on a steady decline?  He is nothing like his father.  He just carries the name.  His leadership abilities are showing in the way this was handled. He blew it in Tallahassee so he comes home to make an even bigger fool of himself.  His father, I believe, could have gotten the job done.  Maybe when the tax revenues in Panama City get so bad that bills aren’t getting paid then he’ll grow some ‘nads and do something about crap like this.  Maybe if he had done nothing but made public what was happening on his watch things would have changed. It’s pretty obvious Panama City has a leadership problem when towns all around it are growing and nothing is going on in Panama City itself.  I mean, how blind do you have to be not to see this? And how many more jobs are going to be lost?

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  01/29  at  07:17 AM

Thank Commissioner John Kady, Mullet Wrapper reporter Matt Dixon and local attorney Bob “I love to hear myself talk” Hughes for this failure. There’s no doubt that Kady was facing personal issues concerning his now defunct restaurant so it’s easy to see why he was dragging his feet. Kind of obvious if you ask me. He didn’t get a break so why should this company even though they were looking to employ 100+.
Then you have Hughes making suggestions that the owner of Coast Wet is some kind of shady character while this kid Dixon hammers it in the local mullet wrapper. THEY ARE THE REASON PANAMA CITY LOST THIS COMPANY… NO OTHER REASONS… PERIOD.

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  01/29  at  06:11 AM

NEWS HERALD….Everyone take my advice: Find someone stupid enough to subscribe to the “mullet-wrapper” (I really like that!). Ask them to save and give the paper to you….burn it in the fireplace. BEST USE FOR IT.

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  01/28  at  01:35 PM

I agree completely Oldman, wish someone would start a new paper and actually report the news.

Posted by Brian7  on  01/28  at  01:32 PM

Brian7, there comes a time when idiots prove themselves to be what they are, IDIOTS!!! The News Herald has more than once proved it needs to be shut down and none too soon. The world is marching past us like a runaway freight train and we have this kind of mental retardation running off a company that was going to give us something besides tourists to depend on? The News Herald should quickly go the way of all dinosaurs and do it now. They act more like the National Enquirer than an actual NEWS paper. I hope they are happy with the damage they’ve done. Panama City’s leaders are just as much to blame for not putting up a better fight to keep this business here and for not firing the morons that held up the paperwork they needed to get the job done. IDIOTS all!!!!!

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  01/28  at  01:24 PM

you got that right Athena.

Posted by Brian7  on  01/28  at  01:13 PM

Shame we don’t have these jobs now.  Also a shame when media creates a story instead of reporting it.  I don’t blame them for going somewhere else after the negative newspaper coverage.  If they don’t feel wanted, why would they build here?

Posted by Brian7  on  01/28  at  01:12 PM

Bravo, “Mullet-wrapper”.. our local newspaper, for running off more business with your inaccurate articles.


Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  01/28  at  09:40 AM

You guys crack me up…because you’re right! Panama City needs to stop learning from it’s mistakes and stop making mistakes in such matters. This is real life boys, you don’t get a do-over.

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  01/28  at  07:53 AM

retired one, I normally am on the opposite side of your thinking but in this case we see the same thing happening. I somehow have the feeling that one individual with far more money than he’ll spend in three lifetimes was behind this. I thought it from the very beginning when this was revealed to the public and the more I hear about it the more I somehow think he had a part in killing this move. It backfired because now it’s on the beaches and the only loser is Panama City itself. I still maintain that if and when they find the culprit responsible for this whole mess that they fire that person on the spot.

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  01/28  at  07:38 AM

This company was probably didn’t have one of the good ole boys relatives in the package.
That was the REAL problem.
You cannot start anything in this county unless you know the RIGHT people.
If you offer over minimum wages they do not want you here. Keep em down!
This will not change until all incumbents have been removed from every position in the county and cities.
vote these bums all out,every time. We need new ideas not old people.

Posted by retired one  on  01/28  at  07:30 AM

“I think we probably made some mistakes”...ya think?  Look around you, moron.  Businesses are bailing out of Panama City like rats from the Titanic!  And Panama City can’t seem to even do something like paperwork right?  Whoever was responsible for holding up the paperwork on this project should be the next to join the unemployed!  To lose this business and it’s tax revenues to the beaches was totally insane!

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  01/28  at  07:14 AM
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